Many senior citizens have concerns as they age that they may not have enough monthly income to continue to take care of themselves. While many rely on savings and retirement plans, social security is an important component as well. However, there is some confusion as to who is eligible for social security and how to apply for their benefits. If you are senior looking for additional financial resource, or are younger but have medical needs, this information is likely to be useful for you.
The Social Security Act established programs that addressed the financial concerns of seniors in several ways:
- to provide for the financial and material needs of individuals and families
- to protect the elderly from losing all their savings when dealing with medical issues
- to keep families intact and living together
- to give children the opportunity to grow up in a secure environment
Who Qualifies for Social Security Benefits?
Although most people assume social security is only or people over 65, that is not entirely true. Individuals with serious medical conditions which prevent earning an income may also qualify for social security benefits. The social Security Administration (SSA) manages two different programs to provide monthly payouts to approved individuals.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): based on work history and earned credits
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): based on need, depends on resources and income.
To be approved for either program, individuals must be disabled or handicapped by an illness or condition expected to last at least 12 months; or is expected to result in death.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
To be covered by SSDI you must have an adequate number of earned credits. Credits are earned based on annual income. As of 2019, one credit is earned for every $1,360 of income, up to 4 credits annually. Typically, 20 earned credits over the last 10 years are required for benefits. Credits do expire, so it is recommended that you apply for SSDI as soon as possible,
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
To be covered by SSI, you must meet medical requirements as well as income and resource requirements. An individual cannot possess resources valued at more than $2,000; a couple cannot have resources worth more than $3,000. Income is capped at $1,180 each month in order to qualify for SSI benefits.
If they don’t meet the specific criteria, an individual may still be approved for disability benefits by taking advantage of the medical-vocational allowance. The medical-vocational allowance uses the residual functional capacity (RFC) form, completed by a healthcare professional. The purpose of the form is to outline any restrictions or limitations an individual experiences due to medical conditions.
The RFC indicates age, educational history, work history, and skills to determine what type of employment, if any, is possible. Documentation, specifically medical records, is imperative for a successful disability claim. Test results, surgical notes, physician notes, x-rays and lab results will need to be submitted if applicable.
If you are interested in applying for disability benefits, start your application online, call 1-800-772-1213, or schedule an appointment at your local SSA office.
A Banyan Residence has locations in Venice and The Villages. We are committed to providing the very best quality of life for those needing an assisted living residence or professional memory care facility.